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RMD Open. 2015 Aug 15;1(Suppl 1):e000062. doi: 10.1136/rmdopen-2015-000062. eCollection 2015.

Early knee osteoarthritis.

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Rheumatology Unit, Department of Medicine-DIMED , University Hospital of Padova , Padova , Italy ; Laboratory of Immunorheumatology and Tissue Regeneration/RAMSES , Rizzoli Orthopedic Research Institute , Bologna , Italy.
Rheumatology Unit, Department of Medicine-DIMED , University Hospital of Padova , Padova , Italy.
Research Division , Hospital for Special Surgery and Weill Cornell Medical College , New York, New York , USA.


Concepts regarding osteoarthritis, the most common joint disease, have dramatically changed in the past decade thanks to the development of new imaging techniques and the widespread use of arthroscopy that permits direct visualisation of intra-articular tissues and structure. MRI and ultrasound allow the early detection of pre-radiographic structural changes not only in the peri-articular bone but also in the cartilage, menisci, synovial membrane, ligaments and fat pad. The significance of MRI findings such as cartilage defects, bone marrow lesions, synovial inflammation/effusions and meniscal tears in patients without radiographic signs of osteoarthritis is not fully understood. Nevertheless, early joint tissue changes are associated with symptoms and, in some cases, with progression of disease. In this short review, we discuss the emerging concept of early osteoarthritis localised to the knee based on recently updated knowledge. We highlight the need for a new definition of early osteoarthritis that will permit the identification of patients at high risk of osteoarthritis progression and to initiate early treatment interventions.


Knee Osteoarthritis; Magnetic Resonance Imaging; Osteoarthritis

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